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Home » Experts Column » Challenges and solutions for RE integration

Challenges and solutions for RE integration

May 25, 2024 12:40 pm

Challenges and solutions for RE integration
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Addressing grid stability, power quality, and supply chain concerns to meet ambitious renewable energy targets.

India’s ambitious renewable energy targets require a significant increase in generation capacity, from the current 179 gigawatts to 500 gigawatts by 2030. However, the journey towards this goal has been marked by challenges in effectively integrating renewable energy into the grid.

Initially, renewable energy plants were added to the grid without adequate reactive power support, leading to large-scale disruptions, especially in remote areas with poor grid infrastructure. These challenges were exacerbated by insufficient grid inertia and delayed fault clearance, causing widespread isolation of renewable energy systems.

Regulatory bodies mandated 33 percent reactive power support for new renewable energy plants to address these issues, shifting from switched capacitor banks to dynamic support through STATCOMs. However, challenges persisted due to poor grid inertia and inadequate fault management.

A multifaceted approach is essential to ensure grid stability and enhance renewable energy integration. This includes deploying grid-forming inverters and battery energy storage systems alongside renewable plants. Additionally, regulatory authorities now mandate stringent norms for inverter selection and system modelling.

Ensuring adequate reactive power support throughout the power system is critical for maintaining stability and avoiding dependency between voltage levels. As India transitions towards net-zero emissions, proactive measures are essential to address challenges and implement solutions promptly.

In addition to grid stability, power quality issues have emerged with the increasing share of renewable energy. Unlike conventional plants, renewable energy systems generate higher-order harmonics, necessitating specialised mitigation solutions such as high-pass filters.

Regulatory mandates, such as compliance with IEEE 519 norms, are driving these solutions’ adoption in existing and upcoming renewable energy plants. As India witnesses a surge in grid-scale solar plants, rapid adaptation to evolving power quality standards becomes imperative.

Quality is paramount while addressing grid stability and power; other challenges, including supply chain dependencies and manpower development, require attention. India’s reliance on China for STATCOMs underscores the need for diversification and indigenous development of critical components.

Furthermore, repurposing synchronous condensers from outgoing thermal plants can bolster grid inertia, aiding the transition to renewable energy. Manpower development must align with the evolving requirements of the digitalised renewable energy sector, emphasising skills in artificial intelligence and automation.

India’s journey towards 100 percent renewable energy entails overcoming various challenges across grid stability, power quality, supply chain resilience, and workforce development. By embracing proactive measures and innovative solutions, India can navigate these challenges and achieve its ambitious renewable energy targets.

Authored by : Baldev Raj Narang, CEO, Clariant Power System Ltd

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